Scottish Amateur Football Association

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Scottish Amateur Football Association
Country Scotland
Confederation UEFA
Founded 1909
Level on pyramid N/A
Promotion to None
Relegation to None
Domestic cup(s) Scottish Amateur Cup
Website Official website

The Scottish Amateur Football Association (SAFA) is the organising body for amateur football across Scotland. An affiliate of the Scottish Football Association, the SAFA has in turn 50 regional associations affiliated to it and some 67 different league competitions organised by these associations. There is estimated to be over 35,000 amateur footballers in Scotland, and all of their competitions are co-ordinated at some level by the Scottish Amateur Football Association. The SAFA was formed in 1909 with the purpose of legislating for and fostering the amateur level of football in Scotland.

One amateur league is a member of the SFA instead of the SAFA - the North Caledonian Football League.

Origins of the SAFA[edit]

The Scottish Football Association (SFA) was established in 1873 when eight clubs, of whom only Queens Park survives, formed the Association principally to organise and sponsor a cup competition. At this time there were many other Scottish clubs, some of whom were members of the Football Association (FA) established in England in 1863.

The establishment of the FA separated what we now call the rugby clubs from the football clubs as prior to this the rules allowed a mixture of handling and kicking the ball.

There were local leagues and cups, friendly matches and a vast amount of "city" matches whereby select teams from Glasgow or Edinburgh for example would play Sheffield or Blackburn. Basically, clubs established their own prestigious fixture list, and there was no formal league set up until the English League was formed in 1888. The SFA decided to adopt the FA rules but only after a lengthy debate about the offside rule.

The English League was "professional" though the practice was not adopted into the rules until 1885. The player exodus from Scotland lured by the big wages being offered was soon to become a flood and expedited the formation of the Scottish Football League (SFL) in 1890 and the introduction of professionalism into Scottish football. Membership of the SFL was by invitation and of the eleven clubs who were founder members, six foundered within the first ten years. Notably, Queens Park and Clyde declined offers to join the new League. Eventually, Queens Park, though strictly an amateur club, accepted the offer to join the Scottish League in 1900, more through fear of being frozen out of fixtures than for any dilution of their amateur beliefs.

The Welsh Football Association was formed in 1876, followed by the Irish Football Association in 1880.

In 1882 the Football Associations of the four countries formed the International Football Association Board to control the laws of the game. The Federation Internationale de Football Association (FIFA) was formed in 1903 when representatives of Belgium, Denmark, France, Holland, Spain, Sweden and Switzerland met in Paris, The Football Association declined to attend and the other three home countries were not invited as FIFA could see no reason for separate representation. The FA joined a year later with the other home countries following in 1911.

Football in many guises and degrees of formality was played long before the SAFA was founded. There is no doubt the first forms of organised football developed from the churches, schools and universities.

Around 1900 there were leagues in existence formed by local community groups, schools, churches and juvenile associations.

The earliest known records of a football club were of one based in Edinburgh in 1824 when a trainee lawyer, John Hope, organised a season of games on Saturday afternoons for The Foot-Ball Club. The club consisted of members of the legal fraternity and landed gentry and played initially on Dalry Estate, then part of an Edinburgh suburb, and later at Greenhill Park in Bruntsfield. There was an annual subscription of one and sixpence (7.5p). By 1826 the club had eighty-five members but no records can be found after 1841.

Of the amateur football clubs that we recognise today, Glasgow University Football Club was established in 1877, closely followed by Edinburgh University in 1878, St Andrews University in 1887, and Aberdeen University in 1889. Bearsden Amateur Football Club were founded in 1890.

On the basis that the club is the oldest playing a form of football recognisable to day, let us have a closer look at the Glasgow University Football Club. Glasgow University (Caledonian League) joined the SFA in 1878, a membership they have flirted with to the present day, but in their first season when they were drawn against Queens Park in the Scottish Cup they withdrew leaving Queens a bye. The University side competed in Scottish Amateur Football League in its inaugural season 1901/02.

In 1967 a group of graduates formed the Westerlands club who joined the Scottish AFL (SAFL).

In season 1983/84, the club took their leave of the SAFL and joined the newly formed Caledonian League but left the second team to compete in the SAFL. In season 1989/90, the club also entered teams in the new Greater Glasgow Premier AFL leaving their 3rd & 4th teams in the SAFL, though in 1993 their long standing membership of the SAFL ended.

Honours gained by the club were Scottish Amateur Cup winners in 1927, West of Scotland Cup winners in 1932, Scottish Amateur League Division 2 winners in 1949, 1962 and 1973. In addition they have had eleven amateur internationalists and one player, WW Beveridge, who gained 3 full international caps for Scotland in 1879 & 80. Club secretary John Paterson became President of the SAFL and was elected Vice President of the SAFA in season 1924-25 whilst he was secretary of the club and the first team goalkeeper. Jim Craig, former dentist and Celtic "Lisbon Lion", is one of many senior players who have played for the club.

Besides playing in the various amateur leagues, the club entered the Scottish Cup on occasion, and in January 1960 had the distinction of being defeated 15-0 by the cup holders St Mirren for whom centre forward Gerry Baker scored ten goals. In 2008 they run four teams in amateur leagues, with three teams performing on Wednesdays in the Scottish University League and still hold membership of the SFA.

1909-1917 Humble Beginnings[edit]

The Scottish Amateur Football Association (SAFA) was formed in 1909 when after an initial meeting held in February attended by eighty clubs from throughout Scotland, Queens Park FC, Glasgow & District FP Football League and the Glasgow & District Secondary Schools League met and agreed on its formation. James Allison, President of Queens Park FC, took the chair. It wasn’t until January 1910 that the first office bearers were appointed, those being as follows; President R A Lambie, Glasgow & District FP League; Secretary J W Millen, Hamilton Crescent FP; and Treasurer W M Crow of the Glasgow & District Secondary Schools League.

On 28 May 1909, the Scottish Football Association (SFA) discussed a request for membership to the body from the SAFA. This was referred to the Special Committee who reported back in November of that year that a decision would be deferred until a full list of SAFA member clubs was submitted for approval. At this time five SAFA clubs had applied for direct membership of the SFA.

It was not at all unusual to have joint membership as it permitted clubs to participate in competitions organised by the SFA. It is less common today though amateur clubs such as Burntisland Shipyard and Glasgow University retain dual membership. At a meeting on 14 December 1909, the SFA approved the membership of the SAFA and appointed Messrs Liddell and Robertson[who?] as their representatives on the SAFA. They were obviously very wary of their new associates as Liddell was Immediate Past President and Robertson was Vice President of the SFA.

Wasting no time, the SAFA, in February 1910, asked the SFA to donate a Challenge Cup and badges for annual competition, but in early March of that year the SFA advised the SAFA they understood that some of their member clubs had registered professional players and they must be investigated. Three clubs were expelled from the SAFA, and on 30 March 1910, the SFA agreed to present a cup to the value of £20.00 and the secretary was asked to obtain quotations for the design and cost. The cup finally presented to the SAFA on 27 May 1910, to be known as the Scottish Amateur Cup.

Regardless of the outcome of the request to the SFA, the SAFA proceeded with a national cup competition. Twenty-three teams entered the first ever Scottish Amateur Cup competition in 1910 and these are listed below:

  • Airdrie Lodge
  • Allan Glen's FP
  • Babcock & Wilcox Athletic
  • Bellahouston FP
  • Creetown Volunteers
  • Edinburgh Civil Service
  • Hamilton Crescent FP
  • Helensburgh
  • Hutchison School FP
  • John Neilson Institute FP
  • Kilmacolm
  • Leith Amateurs
  • Lennox Amateurs
  • Newton Stewart
  • Paisley Academicals
  • Paisley Grammar School
  • Parkside Amateurs
  • Peterhead Hibernian
  • Pollockshields Amateurs
  • Queens Park
  • Vale of Atholl
  • West Calder Swifts
  • Whitehill FP

The competition got off to an inauspicious start when Kilmacolm protested about the ground conditions at their first round tie against Paisley Grammar School. The tie was replayed the following week with Paisley Grammar School winning. The first winners were John Neilson Institution FP Afc who defeated Paisley Academicals by 2-0 at Love Street Paisley in April 1910. No cup or medals were presented after the final.

The cup was eventually presented to the winning side in December 1911 and the SAFA had specially commissioned solid gold badges presented to the winners. Two of the teams, Whitehill FP (Scottish Amateur Football League), then members of the Glasgow & District FP League, and Vale of Atholl, current members of the Perthshire Amateur Football Association, are still in existence.

Prior to this, Creetown Volunteers had appealed to the SFA against the decision of the SAFA to expel them from membership as they had one registered professional player but this was dismissed. Also in May 1910, the SFA dismissed an appeal from Helensburgh against a decision of the SAFA saying that they never interfered with decisions of member Associations.

In November 1910, the SAFA asked the permission of the SFA to play an international match against England only to be told their request was premature, and when the SAFA endeavoured to arrange a meeting with the SFA to discuss the matter, this was refused.

On 1 December 1910, it was made compulsory for the goalkeeper to have a different coloured jersey from his teammates.

The Annual General Meeting of the SAFA in May 1911 saw three Associations and seventeen clubs in membership, and it was noted with regret that two founder members Paisley Academicals and Kilmacolm had gone defunct.

In December 1911, the SFA advised the Olympic Games Committee that they could not send an amateur football team to Stockholm for the 1912 Games. In the 1908 Games, Great Britain had defeated Denmark by 2-0 in the final.

The 1910/11 Scottish Cup attracted twenty-three entries, the same as the inaugural competition, and the holders John Neilson Institution FP were knocked out in the 2nd round albeit after a protest.

In November 1912, the SAFA again requested permission to play an international match against England and were turned down and told that in future if there were to be such a game, it would be under the jurisdiction of the SFA. The SFA did indeed try to arrange the game for December 1913, but this date was changed several times and then abandoned due to the outbreak of war in 1914.

In March 1913, the SAFA requested the permission of the SFA to play teams on the continent. This was agreed to provided they played teams in membership of the International Federation and all details were submitted to the SFA for approval.

December 1913 saw the SAFA requesting affiliation to the SFA, but discussions petered out as did football in general when, on 28 June 1914, Archduke Franz Ferdinand of Austria and his wife were assassinated in Sarajevo leading to the outbreak of the Great War.

The SAFA AGM in May 1914 reported three Associations and thirty two clubs in membership, and the Treasurer advised the Association was £21.00 in credit. The 1st round of the Scottish Cup was set for 16 January 1915, but no football occurred for another five years. Similarly, the initial international match against England to be organised by the SFA was another casualty.

Amateur football literally stopped for the duration of the war, and in October 1917 the SAFA advised the SFA that it was dormant having only one club in membership. Just prior to this the SFA said they would not be appointing delegates to the SAFA.

From the SAFA formation in 1909 until its cessation due to the hostilities in 1914, the three office bearers, President Lambie, Secretary Millen and Treasurer Crow remained unchanged.

The main purpose of the SAFA at this time appeared to be the administration of the Scottish Amateur Cup competition.

1918 - 1939 Between the Wars[edit]

At the May 1919 AGM, there were three Associations and forty three clubs in membership, and whilst the President and Treasurer were re-elected, J Taylor of Albert Road FP was appointed Secretary, a position he was unable to occupy due to his mobilisation into HM Forces. The President stood in for the Secretary in the short term. On his demob Taylor immediately got involved with SAFA and was appointed Vice-President in 1928, Treasurer in 1929 and then served 3 years as President from 1930.

In May 1919, the Football Association (FA) asked the SFA to play the elusive first international match the following season, but they had to decline as Queens Park refused to release their first team players as they would have a fixture on the proposed date. In May of that year the SFA instructed the SAFA to remove the need for two SFA representatives on the SAFA Committee. The SFA had the final word on any request from the member Leagues or Associations and used that facility ruthlessly.

By October 1919, twenty-three new clubs had entered the Association though five others had dropped out. The 1921/22 Scottish Amateur Cup was won by Greenock HSFP after a replay against Coldstream, the first game at Cappielow Park, Greenock attracting 3000 spectators.

In March 1922, the SFA turned down the offer of an amateur international fixture against the French FA and a further approach from the FA was met with a similar response.

In April 1924, the SAFA again asked to play an international match against England only to be told that a team without Queens Park players was not in the national interest.

However the SAFA agreed in August 1926 that an amateur international match would take place against England on 18 December 1926 in Leicester. The Scottish team consisted of seven Queens Park players, one from the Army and the other three from English senior teams. Scotland won 4-1 and the expenses came to £291.19.2 (£291,97).

In December of that year, the SFA announced that they would be altering the Articles of Association to incorporate the necessary changes which meant that, from season 1927/28, the SJunFA and the SAFA were to be National Associations affiliated to the SFA. Each Association would be given a vote at SFA Council Meetings and the SFA was to set up an Appeals Committee to deal with appeals from each body. There would be no appeal against decisions which might delay cup competitions and defaulters would be liable for expenses in addition to the £5.00 appeal fee. This was a major step forward in the development of the SAFA.

In 1927 P Buchanan, President of the SAFA, was appointed delegate to the SFA, a complete reversal of the procedure set up in 1910.

In 1928 the SAFA hired a room from the SFA for meetings at a charge of £5.00 a year, and the SFA announced that any players in unauthorised football might apply to the SFA for reinstatement before 30 June to enable them to play the following season.

The second international match against England took place in May 1928 with Scotland winning 3-2 and showing a profit of £446.7.0 (£446.35). On this occasion there were eight Queens Park players, two anglos and I McDonald from Murrayfield Amateurs in the team.

In early 1929, the SAFA asked the SFA if they could play internationals against Ireland and Wales, and these went ahead in October 1929, when Scotland beat Ireland 3-0, and in February 1930, when Wales were defeated 1-0.

The international team to play England in April 1931 included Queens Park goalkeeper R G C Peden. On qualifying as a teacher, Peden took up an appointment in Dundee and turned out for Midlands AFA side Hillcrest as a centre forward. In November 1932, he scored five goals in a 7-2 victory over Arbroath HSFP.

Returning from the international match v England in March 1931, the train carrying the players and officials was in a crash at Leighton Buzzard where six people were killed, many injured, but fortunately the Scottish party were unscathed.

In 1932 the SAFA were invited to have two representatives on the SFA Selection Committee and dates for the internationals against the three other home countries were established. The SFA decided that the players who represented their country would receive a gold medal. R Gillespie of Queens Park, who had captained Scotland in the historic first amateur international against England, was once again selected for the forthcoming international and was also capped and captained Scotland in the full international against France later that year.

In February 1934, the SAFA met with the SFA to discuss youth football for underage boys, then referred to as "midget football", but this was rejected by the SFA as being adequately provided for.

Due to the outbreak of World War II on 1 September 1939, at the behest of the Government, in September 1939 the SFA declared all football in Scotland be suspended but minor associations could continue.

1940-1945 The War Years[edit]

During the war years an Emergency Committee was formed to run the SAFA affairs and some interesting matters were unearthed. In 1942 four players from Law Boys Guild were suspended "sine die" for betting on the outcome of a game against Larkhall Rangers. In 1943, James Ashwood of Coatbridge Thistle was suspended "sine die" for playing whilst a professional and having forged a reinstatement certificate.

By 1943, however, twelve Associations/Leagues had rejoined the SAFA including Lothian AFA, the Scottish Amateur Football League, the West of Scotland AFA, and ninety-eight teams entered a "West Cup".

At the SAFA AGM of 1944, a National Registration Scheme was discussed and rejected, and the SAFA, who ran Under 18 and 16 leagues, approached the SFA to have all Youth Football under their control. The SFA AGM turned this proposal down. The SAFA membership fee was five shillings (25p) per club or two and sixpence (12.5p) if the club had youth section.

The 1945 AGM attracted only fourteen Associations/Leagues and was not quorate though by July that year it was agreed to restart Scottish and District Cups together with the Under 18 and Under 16 national competitions.

There were sixty-nine entries for the Scottish Cup and eighty-eight for the West of Scotland Cup.

1946 - 1949 The Post War Years[edit]

After the war, most Leagues and Associations struggled to resurrect and made stuttering progress caused by loss of personnel, lack of equipment and kit, problems due to travel, effects of rationing. A glimpse into the Minutes of the Border Amateur Football Association (BAFA) typifies the problems faced throughout the country at this time.

On 17 October 1945, a meeting of eight clubs in Newton St Boswells agreed to reconstitute the Border Amateur Football Association though due to lack of equipment it was unlikely that a full fixture list could be operated and help was to be sought from the SFA to obtain clothing and equipment certificates (coupons). It was agreed that all member clubs should make a one-off payment of £1.00 in addition to the Association membership fee to assist the purchase of equipment. A later meeting tells of the SFA saying they could only assist with coupons unless all member clubs were affiliated to the SAFA. The Association later agreed that no league fixtures be arranged but two cup competitions be organised. By January 1946, six further clubs had joined though Eyemouth United were refused admittance on the grounds that this would provide all other teams with great difficulty in obtaining Saturday transport.

A public dance was to be held to raise funds, and a recently appointed Patron, Lord William Scott, donated two guineas (£2.10) to the Association funds. The sole football played in this first postwar season was for the Dudley Cup which was won by Kelso United who went defunct in 1974. The rival Border Football Association (BFA) then requested return of the Dudley Cup and there followed a dispute as to its rightful ownership. The BFA agreed to permit the BAFA to use the trophy provided they formally applied for permission each year. League football got underway on 5 October 1946, a later date than first envisaged due to the lateness of the harvest, with nine clubs participating. The SFA had by now offered to pay 75% of the coupon value for clubs wishing to purchase jerseys etc. Referees were in short supply, and it was with great reluctance that the Association applied to the SAFA to permit the increase in the tariff from three and six (17p) to five shillings (25p) plus expenses to attract more officials. There was concern that some local school masters would not permit boys to play football unless it was with the oval shaped ball. The severe weather caused postponement of all fixtures in February and March 1947 and there were doubts if the league fixtures could be completed due to the overtime on the farms and the government ban on evening games. Such was the concern that the Association agreed to abandon all cup competitions for the season, and if any future league game was postponed it would be called a draw. Clubs were now withdrawing from the Association due to the conscription of players into the armed forces.

In 1946 SAFA President W W Terris resigned and on leaving presented a cup for Under 16 competition.

The SAFA AGM of 1946 saw thirty-seven delegates attend and there were 126 entries for the Scottish Cup. In 1947 the SFA rejected an Appeal against an SAFA Sub Committee decision and advised the SAFA to set up a Right of Appeal to Council. 1947 also saw Orkney FA and Shetland FA apply for affiliation to the SFA and permission was granted by the SFA for the SAFA to play Northern League, Northern Ireland in Belfast in June of that year.

In July 1947, John Campbell of Minishant was reported for accepting a Savings Certificate as a prize. He was spared his amateur status only after he returned the gift.

The SAFA again applied to the SFA to resume internationals against England, Ireland and Wales but were refused on the grounds of "not full strength teams" and "a team without Queens Park players would be deluding the public".

Orkney and Shetland FAs were granted affiliation to the SFA but did not require to pay fees as they were denied representation for playing outwith the SFA's accepted season. The SAFA were again granted permission to play Northern League, Northern Ireland in Dumfries in May 1948, and in an about turn by the SFA they were told they could arrange future internationals against the other home countries. They were reminded that they would be fully responsible for all expenses incurred.

At the behest of some member clubs the SAFA requested SFA permission to set up a National Registration Scheme but this was eventually rejected by the SAFA Council as "being diametrically opposed to the amateur principles". 1948 also saw Inverness area clubs refusing to join or affiliate to the SAFA and they were then reported to the SFA for playing unauthorised football. They continued to rebel but the SFA hit back by declaring (1) all clubs were ineligible, (2) players would have to apply to the SFA for reinstatement from unauthorised football,(3) SFA member clubs must have no dealings, offer pitches etc. and (4) referees were advised they could not officiate in matches. The President and Secretary of the SAFA made a pilgrimage to Inverness in December in an effort to resolve the problems and repeated the journey to Sutherlandshire in the same month to put out the embers of rebellion in that area.

There is no clear picture of how long it took to bring the clubs to heel, but the amount of players who applied to the SFA for reinstatement from unauthorised football during the course of the next year suggests it lasted no more than a season.

By the 1948 AGM, there were 43 Associations /Leagues, 604 teams, and 173 youth members within the SAFA, and the Association accepted an offer from the SFA to hold their meetings at the SFA offices in Glasgow. At the 1949 AGM, it was agreed all Past Presidents of the SAFA should be given automatic Life Membership. Murray McNab was appointed Secretary and he accepted provided his company received payment of £150.00 for use of office staff to carry out the duties. Once again a proposal for a National Registration Scheme was rejected.

The SAFA arranged its first amateur international against Ireland in Aberdeen and invited two delegates from the SFA to attend. There were seven Queens Park players in the team whilst the reserve team had another five. There was no happy ending to the first international match as Scotland were defeated.

In 1949 the SAFA received an invitation to play their French counterparts in Paris the following year but had to decline the offer as they could not afford to finance the trip nor could the players take the necessary five days off work to participate. The rules, of course, strictly forbid players being reimbursed for loss of wages.

1950 - 1959 Out of the Darkness[edit]

The 1950 AGM saw membership rise to 58 Associations/ Leagues with 822 clubs and 242 Youth teams and the following season a total of 20 Appeals were lodged. In 1951 the Edinburgh Evening News presented a trophy for annual competition between teams in the South of Scotland, and the SAFA changed the name of the Midland Cup to the North of Tay Cup to avoid confusion as many teams thought this was a cup for Midlands AFA teams only.

1952 saw the City & District AL permitted to change its name to the Central AL, and early the next year the SFA turned down a request from the SAFA to permit the televising of the amateur international v England. Later in 1953, NCR Afc (Midlands AFA) were given permission to play the company factory team in Augsburg, Germany provided the SFA agreed.

In 1953 the Committee structure within the SAFA was composed of eleven committees; Executive, Finance, Appeals, Selection, Youth, West, East, North of Tay, Fife, North of Scotland and South of Scotland. In 1957 the Executive and Finance Committees combined. This structure remained unaltered until 1984 when a West District Sub Committee was set up to handle the increased business due to Sunday football. A General Purposes Committee was set up in 1997 and in the 2003 the West District Executive Sub Committee changed its name to the West District Executive Sunday Committee. The first international match v Éire was arranged for Dublin in May with a return at Celtic Park Glasgow the following year.

In 1954 the SFA again resumed responsibility for amateur internationals. Later that year the SAFA donated a cup to the Glasgow & District Secondary Schools League to celebrate their 50th anniversary. They were of course very much part of the formation of the SAFA back in 1909. With the cooperation of Glasgow Education Committee, the SAFA set up Coaching Commission with a full complement of 16 students taking part. The SFA were astonished at this foresight and asked if they could send delegates as observers.

The 1955 AGM was held in Perth and the poor attendance was put down to a rail strike.

1957 saw the SFA give permission for games to be played under floodlights. A Jubilee Committee was set up by the SAFA in early 1959 to make arrangements to celebrate the 50th anniversary of the Association, and after an extensive search it was reported that the early Minute Books of the Association could not be traced. A dinner with entertainment was to be organised and held within Burlington House, Glasgow in 1960. With an official guest list of 130, only 60 tickets were available for club members. To commemorate the Jubilee the SFA presented the SAFA with a President’s Chain of Office.

1960 - 1969 Years of Enlightenment and Hope[edit]

Training in first aid was mooted for club officials, but the SAFA advised teams to contact their local St Andrews Ambulance Service direct. The popular Coaching Commission courses continued and in 1960 there were 46 participants.

The Dumfries & C District AFL were advised they could not fine players for misconduct offences but where appropriate they could fine clubs. The National Registration Scheme was again debated but turned down by Council before it was taken to the AGM. Similar proposals for such a scheme were rejected at the 1963 and 1964 AGMs.

However, in 1962 the SFA agreed at their AGM to the SAFA proposal that an amateur player on a "B Form" could have his registration cancelled on request and altered their Articles of Association accordingly. A record 259 entries for the Scottish Cup in 1962 was exceeded in 1965 when 284 entered.

In 1965 the SAFA promoted an Inter League Youth Competition to start the following season and Foulden Fc playing in the North Northumberland League were permitted by the SFA to affiliate to the SAFA. The SFA also suggested that one substitute might be used at anytime in a game but this met with a muted response at the SAFA.

In April 1966 an SAFA Select played Edinburgh University to commemorate the Centenary of the Edinburgh University Athletic Club.

By the 1966 AGM, the SAFA secretary Murray McNab had moved to Alexander Sloan & Co who carried out the secretarial work on behalf of the Association. A proposal for a National Registration Scheme was again debated and rejected.

A major step was taken in August 1966 when the SAFA agreed that one substitute might be allowed but only to replace an injured player. He had to be on the team lines and, if used in a cup competition, would be considered cup tied. A few weeks later the SAFA showed their teeth and told Lawside FP (Midlands AFA) to return the North of Tay Cup and all individual plaques when it was found they had played a professional player in the final. Stirling & District AFA were warned that they must give dated suspensions and not game suspensions. In the course of the previous season, 25 Appeals were dealt with. In August 1967 the referee’s tariff for the Scottish Cup was set at £1.00 plus travelling expenses and the SAFA funds stood at £1271.00. The SAFA were prepared to permit one substitute for cup games but each Association/League could decide for themselves whether to adopt this rule.

In October 1967 the sons of Alex F Baxter, who for years had been the amateur football columnist with the Glasgow Evening Times, approached the SAFA and offered a trophy in their father’s memory. The initial suggestion was to split the West of Scotland Cup into two sections, but this was rejected in favour of a knock out competition between the Associations/Leagues in the West of Scotland. In April 1968 the AF Baxter Trophy was handed over to the SAFA by the late columnist’s two sons.

Also in 1968 it was suggested the post of President be restricted to one of three years but this was not accepted.

In April 1969 Alexander Sloan & Co became the SAFA Treasurers and the SAFA registered office would be the companies address at 142 St Vincent Street, Glasgow. An auditor was appointed and the position of Secretary/Treasurer was combined and taken on by Murray McNab. An assistant secretary was to be appointed at the following AGM. At the 1969 AGM, these two appointments were confirmed with the assistant secretary dealing with all Youth matters. Once again a proposal for a National Registration Scheme was debated and rejected.

Tragedy struck the newly appointed Secretary/Treasurer when he was badly injured in a fall at home and he died in September 1969 from his injuries. The assistant secretary, Leslie Michie, who had never taken up that position, was appointed Secretary/Treasurer until the following AGM.

1970 - 1979 A Decade of Dramatic Development[edit]

The 1970s saw huge changes in the development of the SAFA. The SAFA started 1970 by purchasing a set of strips from T Alexander of Paisley for £30.00 and advised clubs that frivolous appeals would result in costs being levied against clubs. This was sparked off by an appeal by Pencaitland Amateurs (Lothian AFA) requiring a Special Meeting with all the cost of postage, lets etc. and eventually the appeal being deemed frivolous. On the brighter side, the SFA offered accommodation for SAFA meetings free of charge with telephone facilities. It was decided there would be a programme for the Scottish Amateur Cup final for the first time. Airdrie, Coatbridge & District AFL changed their name to Central Scotland AFL.

At the 1970 AGM, there were 61 Associations/Leagues and 1,100 clubs in membership. The SAFA Youth Select had won the SFA Youth Cup for the second season running. There were four hundred and thirteen entries for the Scottish Amateur Cup and the Association funds stood at £3,694.75. The SAFA commissioned a Ballot Box in commemoration of Murray McNab and donated it to the SFA for use of all member bodies for their cup draws.

In February 1972, W P Allan, the SFA secretary, addressed a Council meeting stating that Sunday football could not take place until (1) the SAFA changed their Constitution and (2) the SFA changed their Articles of Association. In a rare demonstration of unity, the SAFA supported the SJunFA and SJuvFA and put forward a motion to the SFA AGM "That Sunday Football be permitted where both clubs agree to play". This was successful, but the SFA reminded the SAFA that an amateur could not play a trial for a Junior club if it was on a Sunday. The SFA agreed an amateur could play summer and winter football provided his registration with the appropriate Association/League was in order, but a change of rules was required before this could take place. The SFA also confirmed that professional players over the age of 21 could be reinstated to amateur provided they were medically examined by their own doctor and the SFA doctor who had to agree they could not earn a living from playing football.

The 1972 AGM saw two substitutes being allowed and penalty kicks being used to settle Scottish Cup ties. Later the SFA agreed they would alter their Articles of Association to permit SAFA member clubs to play on Sunday. This was a momentous decision which reflected the mood of the country at the time as the long held Presbyterian outlook to the Sabbath was left behind. There were 496 entries for the Scottish Cup and the SAFA funds stood at £3,516.75. The SAFA requested the SFA change Article 126 to include the SAFA on the list of those able to participate in Sunday football and this was accomplished at the SFA AGM.

For season 1972/73, there were 460 entries for the Scottish Amateur Cup and in an unusual departure from normal business a dispute was settled by Fife Police. Abbotshill (Kirkcaldy & District AFL) played Tayport (Midlands AFA) in the Scottish Cup and the rule at the time meant the home team had to pay travel expenses to the opposition provided the distance travelled exceeded 30 miles. The clubs could not agree, and the SAFA called upon the Fife Police who decided the distance between the grounds was 31 miles, which meant that Tayport were liable for expenses.

In 1976 Annan Athletic (Carlisle & District AL) successfully applied to play in the Scottish and the West of Scotland District Cups, and Iain McTweed succeeded Ian Barbour as SAFA secretary. In early 1976, Netherlee Church (Scottish AFL) took the unusual step of reporting three of their players for playing unauthorised football and suspended them. The players had to apply to the SFA for reinstatement to amateur status before continuing to play. Season 1975/76 was the only time the Scottish Cup final was not played as one of the finalists Cambusnethan Talbot were deemed to have played an ineligible player in an earlier round. The investigation prevented the final being played, and Colville Park (Central Scotland AFL) but then of the Lanarkshire AFA, were presented with the Scottish Cup and winners medals in October 1976, without having had the thrill of running out on to Hampden Park.

Sponsorship was being encouraged but clubs, Associations and Leagues were reminded that all sponsorship deals had to be submitted to the SFA for approval. This resulted in large numbers of applications to the SFA each month. The 1977 AGM saw a reported surplus of £765.00 for the year, the SAFA hearing 39 Appeals and the Scottish Cup attracting 580 entries. Sunday football was up and running and it was agreed to have a Scottish Sunday Trophy, with the status of a District Cup from season 1978/79. Ties would be played only on a Sunday with 30 minutes extra time and penalties if necessary to decide the outcome. The secretary of the Dingwall & District AFA, Harry Windsor, had secured a trophy for the Highland Amateur Cup and was confident he would find a sponsor for the first competition. The SAFA received an invitation to play in the Faroe Islands with all expenses paid from time of leaving from and returning to Scrabster near Thurso on the north coast of Scotland. The SAFA sought assistance for the travel and accommodation to and from Scrabster from the SFA and the Sports Council, but their appeals fell on stony ground and they were unable to accept the offer.

The SFA now permitted sponsors’ names on jerseys but they were limited to 12 square inches in total. Later in 1978, Tennent Caledonian Brewers agreed to sponsor the Scottish Cup for three years, and the SAFA accepted an offer to play the North Amateur League from Northern Ireland at Stranraer in April 1979. This had been considered in previous years but due to the troubles in Ireland had never materialised. The whisky company, Matthew Gloag & Sons, agreed a three year deal to sponsor the Scottish Sunday Trophy and also supplied the cup. Halkirk were beaten by South Ronaldsay from Orkney in the Highland Amateur Cup Final which attracted the largest ever crowd of 1200 to a match in Thurso.

In October 1979, seven nominations were received for the position of Vice President of the SAFA and Tom Wilkie (Angus AFA) was successful in the ballot. Out of the blue, the SFA offered a one off grant to the SAFA to play the North League of Northern Ireland at Carrickfergus. December 1979 saw the SAFA agree to place all records on permanent loan to the Scottish Records Office.

1980 - 1989 Momentous Change[edit]

After three years deliberation the SFA announced that nylon studs were permitted to be worn on all surfaces. Founder members of the SAFA, Glasgow & District FP FL, celebrated their 75th anniversary in February 1980. Bellahouston Academy FP were the only original member club still in the League though Clydebank HSFP, formed in 1919, and Govan HSFP, founded in 1909, were still members of the League. By the 1980 AGM, the SAFA had 112 Associations/Leagues with 1,946 clubs and 867 youth teams which translated to around 55,000 people involved in amateur football each week. They had heard 56 Appeals in the past season but a further 55 were improperly lodged. In October 1980, the talk was all of illegal substances, that is, lime, paraquat and creosote used for line markings. The SFA were requested to rule on this matter.

In November of that year the SAFA announced their largest ever sponsorship deal to date when the producers of Vladimir Vodka put their name to a package of sponsorship including a National 5-a-side Tournament, a new innovation. The initial deal was for one year, but hopes were high that the National Tournament would be highly successful and raise the profile of the SAFA for years to come. It was decided the entrants for the 5-a-side Tournament would be by invitation only, and after protracted discussions, that it would be a one day event in the Kelvin Hall Glasgow in April 1981. David Francey, the voice of BBC Scotland’s football commentaries, agreed to act as Master of Ceremonies. The winners of the Scottish Cup and the District Cups were thus assembled with an army of SAFA volunteer stewards etc., to witness Dingwall Thistle Afc winning the competition.

At the 1981 AGM, a possible financial light was shining on the horizon when it was suggested that the SAFA should run a Lottery being promoted by the SFA. This was to lead to another quantum leap forward in the development of the SAFA by providing the means and momentum to appoint a full-time official, the first in the SAFA’s history. The SAFA continued to grow, this being reflected in the 654 entrants for the Scottish Cup and 240 for the Scottish Sunday Trophy. Fife AFA celebrated their Golden Jubilee.

The 80s continued to reap a harvest of sponsors. In addition to the aforementioned Vladimir Vodka, deals were struck with Tennent Caledonian Brewers for a further three year extension to their sponsorship of the Scottish Cup. The North of Scotland Cup had an anonymous backer for three years, and the Under 18, 16, and 15 national cup competitions were sponsored by Transalpino, a travel agency dealing mainly with students. Scottish Brewers sponsored the Fife Cup, Matthew Gloag the Scottish Sunday Trophy for three years, The Press & Journal The Highland Cup, Broughton Brewery the South of Scotland Cup, The Tartan Arms Bannockburn the West of Scotland Cup. In 1982 the Ballot Box presented to the SFA in memory of former SAFA secretary Murray McNab was returned to the Association by the SFA. A Scottish AFL team drew a team from Islay AFL in The AF Baxter Trophy and it cost over £700.00 to fulfill the fixture.

After considerable discussion, by April 1982 it was decided that a full-time Secretary/Treasurer should be appointed though Alexander Sloan & Co, the Association treasurers, would continue to deal with the financial matters. The post's duties would include attending all SAFA meetings and to be secretary of the Selection and Appeals committees. It was anticipated the post would be funded from investment income and proceeds from the SFA Lottery. There were 220 applicants and a subcommittee was set up to prepare a shortlist. Five applicants, three of whom were already involved with the SAFA, were interviewed from which Iain McTweed, the SAFA Honorary Secretary since 1976, was selected and offered the post. The SAFA’s first full-time employee took up his employment on 1 September 1983, working from his house.

The SFA Lottery administered by the SAFA was now beginning to plough funds into both the SAFA and its member clubs by way of commission on sales. By the 1984 AGM, 600 clubs were participating.

In 1983 the Caledonian League was formed when 16 invited teams played in the inaugural season. The rationale was that clubs of proven ability, with good playing surfaces and social facilities, competing against each other would raise the status of amateur football.

In 1984 the Kingdom Caledonian AFA started in Fife, with invited clubs forming one division in an effort to raise the standard of football in the area by attracting clubs from throughout Fife.

In August 1984, the Strathpeffer Pipe Band offered to play at the final of the Highland Cup for payment of £50.00. The secretary of the competition refused but compromised by allowing them play and to take a collection at half time. The pipe major had great satisfaction in announcing they had collected £100.00. Incidentally, the cup was won by Ness from Stornoway who defeated Bishopmill Villa by 4-1.

Lothian AFA celebrated their 75th anniversary, and a West Executive Sub Committee was set up on a temporary basis to assist with the large workload caused by the West of Scotland Cup and the Scottish Sunday Trophy.

In 1985 Ayrshire AFA celebrated their Golden Jubilee, and a year later the SAFA permitted their flagship competition, the Scottish Cup to be renamed the Tennents Scottish Amateur Cup. Tom Wilkie, the SAFA President, was awarded Life Membership of the SFA for his contribution to amateur football.

At the 1986 AGM, it was announced that two substitutes would be allowed from next season. 130 Appeals had been heard during the season of which 46 were incorrectly lodged. A donation of £1500.00 was made to the Jock Stein Memorial Fund.

In August 1987, a Match Secretary for the Scottish Sunday Trophy, George Steel, was appointed for the first time. By the end of the year structural changes were made within the Lottery with the SAFA Secretary/Treasurer assuming responsibility for its supervision and a separate Lottery account opened. In January 1988, Hugh Knapp was welcomed as the Council delegate for Lanarkshire AFA. An unusual Appeal was considered when the Strathtay v Stow Scottish Sunday Trophy tie was abandoned after 84 minutes as the strong wind brought down the crossbar. Adjacent parks were available but the losing club refused to move. The Appeal for the tie was dismissed and the game recast as both clubs would have had to agree to move parks.

In August 1988, George Watson became Assistant Match Secretary and in October Andrew S Laird who had served thirty years as Match Secretary, was made a Life Member of the SFA. In March the SFA confirmed taping of nets to the posts and bar was acceptable, and the SAFA announced that from next season nets must be used in all Scottish Sunday Trophy ties. As a result of a high number of Appeals to the SFA, which they termed frivolous, the SFA warned that in future clubs submitting Appeals considered thus might be levied expenses which could amount to £200.00. In 1989 The Greater Glasgow Premier League commenced with 20 invited clubs mainly from the Eastwood area of Glasgow. The intention was to provide competitive football, on good grass pitches and with limited travel. The decade closed with the presentation of a SFA Long Service Award to A B Bennie (Lanarkshire AFA) for over fifty years.

Throughout the 1980s the SAFA grew at a great pace, and at the end of the decade it had 150 Associations/Leagues with 2,950 clubs and 3,700 teams. Between 1975 and 1983 the Association had doubled in size. This growth was due in the main to the popularity of Sunday football and the rapid growth of youth football. The Scottish Cup entries had reached 802 with 650 for the Famous Grouse Scotch Whisky Amateur Football Trophy.

1990 - 1999 Development, Disillusionment & Disappointment[edit]

1990 started with the SAFA discussing whether to continue with the Scottish Sunday Trophy as so many teams were withdrawing from ties. A Questionnaire on Cautions was sent to all Associations/Leagues and the introduction of VAT on fees would see increases across the board at the start of season 1990/91.

R Hay, Past President of the SAFA, was awarded a Long Service Medal by the SFA. In November 1990, it became apparent that the SFA were discussing the future of Scottish football which might have a far reaching effect on the SAFA. In addition the SFA Development Officer, Andy Roxburgh, had issued a document on Youth Football and joint meetings were held between the various bodies concerned who were asked to report back. Numerous changes were to be made to current practice including no 11-a-side until Under 12, smaller pitches and goals, more substitutes permitted, a smaller ball to be used and 7-a-side for up to Under 11s to be introduced.

Towards the end of the year the SAFA lent its support to Queens Park when it was mooted a new national stadium be built elsewhere in Scotland.

Dundee Sunday Welfare AFA celebrated its 25th Anniversary before the year was out, and early in 1992 another Sunday Association, Maybury AFA, celebrated their 20th Anniversary.

By the time of the 1992 AGM there was mixed news for the SAFA when, firstly the SFA offered rent-free office accommodation and facilities for the Secretary for at least two years but secondly, at the Scottish Sunday Trophy Final, Matthew Gloag & Co stunned the company when they announced their sponsorship would cease forthwith. Further bad news followed when Tennent Caledonian Brewers said they would not be continuing their sponsorship of the Scottish Cup. Frantic discussion with Matthew Gloag & Co saw them agreeing to sponsor the Scottish Sunday Trophy for a further season before a review, and with a twist in the tail the company expressed an interest in sponsoring the Scottish Cup.

In January 1993 it was agreed to advertise not only for a Secretary but also a clerkess and 160 applicants were received for the post of Secretary. Arthur Duncan, a retired police inspector, accepted the post and started on 5 January 1994.

James Brown, a director of Stranraer FC who had offered the SAFA a cup in 1984, left £250.00 to the SAFA in his Will and some time later it was agreed it be used to replace a Youth Competition trophy. In February 1992 the sad news that the Glasgow & District FP AFL was folding came with a simple telephone call from their President. Indeed a disappointing end for a founding Association of the SAFA in 1909. The League’s various cups and trophies were taken in for safe keeping by the SAFA in the hope that the League might be restarted.

In August 1993, due to the scarcity of dates available for possible replays it was agreed that for one year only the Scottish Cup ties would be one game played to a finish. At different dates during that year West Lothian AFA celebrated their 25th Anniversary and Giffnock North Afc their 50th,

In January 1994, Secretary Arthur Duncan attended his first Council meeting and Hugh Knapp was appointed Treasurer. From the following season the SFA announced that a named goalkeeper and three substitutes would be permitted.

2000 - 2008 A New Beginning[edit]

With the Youth section departing, membership dropped to 73 Associations/Leagues with 1,560 clubs. The 2000 AGM saw Robert McGechie take over as Match Secretary of the Famous Grouse Scotch Whisky Amateur Football Trophy. District Cup ties were to be played to a finish at first attempt and Matthew Gloag & Co signed a four year sponsorship deal for both Scottish Cups.

Early in 2001, the SAFA moved into new offices in the reconstructed National Stadium at Hampden Park Glasgow and a new website was launched. The delicate condition of the two Scottish Cups led to the decision to have them repaired, mothballed and new trophies purchased.

In May 2001, the Fixed Penalty Guidelines for Standard Offences was introduced throughout the country for an initial two year period leading to a review.

At the 2004 AGM, Matthew Gloag & Co announced that their sponsorship of the Scottish Sunday Trophy, better known by this time as the Famous Grouse Scotch Whisky Amateur Football Trophy, was over after a 25-year relationship. The Scottish Cup has been sponsored in turn by Soccer World and Sportsguard since then. Replicas of the two major trophies were purchased and the originals given on permanent loan to the Scottish Football Museum at Hampden Park.

In 2001 the Scottish Amateur FL celebrated their centenary, and Greenock HSFP did likewise in 2007. May 2003 saw the 25th anniversary of the fixture against the Northern Amateur Football League of Northern Ireland for the Jack Britton Rosebowl. Paisley & District AFA held their Golden Jubilee in 2004. In 2007 St Monans Swallows celebrated one hundred years of football in the Fife village.

In February 2003, the SAFA had over 500 applications to take their "C Licence" coaching course to be run by the SFA in conjunction with the Community Coaches. The Western District Executive Sub Committee was renamed the Western District Executive Sunday Committee which more accurately reflected its duties. By 2004 Futsal had 49 teams in four leagues and discussions were advanced with a sponsor but this later fell through. Around this time a shortage of referees was felt, particularly in the West of Scotland, and meetings were held with the SFA in an attempt to improve the situation. The Protection of Children Act (Scotland) 2003 would affect clubs with Under 18 players and information was made available to the relevant clubs. A pilot scheme for the National Registration Scheme started in season 2005/06 under the auspices of the SFA, but due to manpower problems and computer glitches this was unable to be fully implemented until the end of the decade. Derogatory comments on a club website necessitated, in 2005, the SAFA introducing a rule holding clubs responsible for what appeared on their websites.

The 2005 Scottish Amateur Sunday Trophy ended with ugly scenes involving both teams and spectators and both clubs were severely censured for their actions, fined £250.00, and had a bond for good behaviour placed on them in the sum of £250.00. Further, both clubs were barred from entering the competition for five years. Both clubs failed to pay the fines and were debt suspended.

For years the SAFA had sought financial assistance to run first aid courses with the principle that each club would have at least one qualified member with a Sports Injury Certificate. In February 2007, the Scottish Football Partnership agreed to fund the initiative to the sum of £140,000.00 making it virtually free to every club in membership of the SAFA. Legislation was passed and all clubs had to comply having at least one member with a Sports Injury Certificate from season 2009/10. The courses are run all round the country by SFA Sports & Medicine Centre.

East of Scotland were to represent the SAFA in the 6th UEFA Regions Cup to be held in Allessandria, Italy, aspiring to qualify for the second stages, something no other Scottish team has done since the tournament's inception in 1999.

The 100th year started with an entry of 598 teams for the Scottish Amateur Cup, despite falling numbers still the largest football competition in the country and continued on a bright financial note when a sponsorship agreement was signed with Scottish Brewers, using the brand name Fosters, for the Scottish Amateur Cup and the Scottish Amateur Sunday Trophy for a two year period with an option for a further year.

The Scottish Amateur Cup[edit]

Presented to the SAFA in 1910 by the SFA. Replaced by a new replica trophy purchased in 2005 by SAFA at a cost of £13,550.00 and the original placed in the Scottish Football Museum. Open for competition annually by all member clubs within the SAFA.

Scottish Amateur Cup Past Winners (Presented by The Scottish Football Association Ltd).

The Scottish Amateur Sunday Trophy[edit]

Presented by the SAFA to replace the Famous Grouse Scotch Whisky Amateur Football Trophy in 2005 at a cost of £1,675.00. Established in 2005 and competed for annually by teams in the Associations /Leagues affiliated to the SAFA who play Sunday football.

Season Winners
2004-05 Cavendish A.F.C.
2005-06 Rowantree A.F.C.
2006-07 Finnart A.F.C.
2007-08 Finnart A.F.C.
2008-09 Gantry A.F.C.
2009-10 Finnart A.F.C.
2010-11 Tower A.F.C.
2011-12 Finnart A.F.C.
2012-13 Rutherglen Vogue A.F.C.
2013-14 Harvester A.F.C.
2014-15 Cranhill United A.F.C.

External links[edit]